Steel Core Ammunition

During the summer months, it is common for the BC Coastal Fire Centre to place bans on open burning. Whenever conditions are extreme enough to warrant a ban on campfires, we also place a temporary ban on the use of steel core ammunition at our range. This is because steel projectiles create sparks when hitting steel gongs and target posts down-range, which have caused grass fires in the past. While all of our ranges are stocked with fire-fighting equipment, we still ask that our members help us prevent the risk of fire altogether by refraining from using steel-core ammunition during these periods.

Steel core bullets are usually found in surplus military ammunition from the Eastern Bloc and China. Common cartridges that use a steel core include:

  • 7.62 x 39mm
  • 7.62 x 54mm
  • 7.62 x 25mm (Tokarev)
  • 556 x 45mm (or .223 Remington)
  • 7.62 x 51mm (or .308 Winchester)

How to Identify Steel Core

The easiest way to check whether your ammunition has a steel core is to use a strong magnet on the tip or side of the bullet. If the bullet sticks, it’s steel!

If the bullet is soft-point, use the side of the bullet to verify whether the projectile contains any steel.

Source: Ricochet Range, NC, USA

As a reminder, these temporary bans apply to ammo with a steel projectile. Normal lead and copper-jacketed projectiles are still allowed.